Juggling kids and teleworking? We have a few ideas for how you can keep your kids engaged while you work from home.

With schools closed and many parents working from home, families are getting more time together than usual. This is wonderful news for busy families who are taking advantage of this break to really spend quality time together. But it also poses a challenge for parents who need to get work done while keeping their kids busy.

We’ve compiled 10 activities you can use to keep your kids engaged and entertained while you answer important emails or work on that upcoming project. Best of all, most of these activities are screen-free and can help calm your kids naturally.

1. Add an educational touch to virtual playdates with round-robin reading or study sessions.

Limiting screen time is a great idea, but you can use video chatting to your and your kids’ advantage. Virtual playdates via video messaging are popular right now because of social distancing, but video chatting doesn’t have to be purely social. You can add an educational approach to your kids’ chat time by having them round-robin read books with a friend or have a study session where they can share ideas.

2. Playdough and slime are both really easy to make and endlessly entertaining.

Homemade playdough and slime are as fun to make as they are for younger kids to play with. Not only do they engage the brain with a sensory experience, but they also help kids release physical tension. As an added bonus, we recommend adding some lavender essential oils to your mix to help your child relax even more.

Here are easy recipes for lavender playdough and lavender slime.

3. Help your kids burn off their extra energy and relax with a kid-friendly yoga workout.

Make a workout part of your kids’ daily schedule. You can find regular, kid-friendly exercise routines on YouTube, but if your kids want something more relaxing, yoga is perfect for stress relief and mindfulness. It’s really useful for older kids and teens who might be feeling worried about what’s going on in the world.

You can find a ton of yoga routines and even storytime-themed yoga on the Cosmic Kids Yoga channel.

4. The Quiet Game is a go-to trick for parents, but you can add a twist with a prize for the winner.

The classic Quiet Game is the quintessential trick used by parents when some peace and quiet is sorely needed. Most kids wise up to this tactic pretty quickly, but by adding a twist, you can keep them engaged. Set aside a specific amount of time for silence or simply see who can last the longest. As for the twist, offer some sort of prize for the winner. The winner might be able to choose dinner and a movie for the family that night or win some other coveted reward.

5. Spark your kids’ inner archaeologist or paleontologist with a treasure- or dino-themed dig site.

Youngsters who really love to dig will find this activity really engaging. Fill a storage tote with Epsom salt or sand and mix in a few drops of a calming essential oil. Throw in some tiny toy dinosaurs, fake jewels, custom jewelry, and whatever else might catch their interest. Mix it all up and let your kids dig around by hand or with tools.

Another great idea is to create a dinosaur fossil excavation of your own. This simple cornstarch and water recipe lets kids chip away at a block to unearth a hidden toy fossil or figure inside.

6. Gather up extra bedding and encourage your kids to build the best blanket fort they can.

Blanket forts were just as fun for you as a child as they are for your kids now. Best of all, they can preoccupy all ages for a good while. Pile up extra blankets, sheets, and pillows and let your kids get started building. For young kids, it’s a good idea to provide some guidance on what they can or can’t use and check in periodically to make sure everything is going well (and everyone is staying safe!).

7. Art challenges and guided online painting lessons are a great way to keep all ages busy while stimulating creativity.

You can liven up art time by challenging your kids to a theme or an online guided painting lesson. Maybe during one painting session, you can challenge them to create a new mythical animal or paint a scene from a dream they had. As for guided painting lessons, you can find easy, kid-friendly ones on YouTube or, for old time sake, put on an episode of Bob Ross for your older kids or teens. Younger kids can also follow along with help from their older siblings.

Here is a great resource for some other fun art games for kids.

8. Folding origami or paper airplanes is unique and allows school-age kids to design their own creations.

Another great art idea for school-age kids and teens is paper folding. You can provide origami paper and some instructions to your kids or grab printer paper and see who can create the farthest-flying paper airplane. This activity might be a little tough for very young children, but their older siblings can help them. One idea for mixed ages is to let the youngsters decorate their paper and then have the older kids fold it for them.

The Origami Way site is perfect for finding both origami instructions and some really awesome paper airplane instructions.

9. Turn household chores into a game or competition with “cash” rewards complete with treats.

If you can turn something mundane into a game, your kids will automatically be more interested. This applies perfectly to household chores. By turning chores into a game, your kids will not only help you keep the house tidy while you work, but you also won’t have to feel like you need to nag for dishes or the laundry to get done.

This mom went viral recently for her “snack store” approach to chores. For every completed task, your child gets some Monopoly money, which they can spend on snacks or other prizes. You can find some other chore game ideas here.

10. Combine an audiobook with quiet activities like coloring or reading comprehension worksheets.

Audible has a huge library of kids audiobooks for all ages, from preschoolers to teens. Audiobooks are wonderful for keeping kids entertained while also helping them calm down and relax. You can combine audiobooks with another quiet activity, like coloring or a puzzle, or you can supply your kids with worksheets to fill out. Another unique idea is to look up some journaling prompts for your older kids and teens to write about after the book is over.

As an example, here is an activity sheet for Bridge to Terabithia.

The Brocks Gap Dental team looks forward to hearing how you and your kids kept busy during this stay-at-home break.

As with most other Hoover, Alabama, dental offices, the Brocks Gap Dental Group is on a short break as directed by Governor Ivey. We will be temporarily closed for non-urgent appointments, but our office is always open for emergency dental needs. If you’re experiencing severe pain, swelling, or any other emergency, please call our office or our emergency line.

In the meantime, we hope you and your family stay safe, and we can’t wait to hear what fun activities you got up to when you come back. You can stay up-to-date with any changes to our office hours or ask questions on our Facebook page.